City of Kings

The Story of the Once and Reborn King

Book One: From Ashes of Empire

Part II: The Seawolf

Adventure Two: The Land of Fate

Act I: Maluk, City of Kings

Chapter One: Weave of the Carpet

Febuary 22-April 23
Ander and Aeluin have traveled far and have finally arrived in Muluk, the City of Kings. It is one of the Free Cities of the North, and owes at least nominal political and religious allegience to the Grand Caliph in far Huzuz, the City of Splendours.

Ander is impressed with the size and bustling activity of the city. Aeluin abandons him at the docks to check out the market. Ander is left to wander alon, with only a smattering of the language to guide him. He sees the slave markets, the bazzar, imperious Mamuluks, many strange and exotic poeple, and finally winds up near the palace in the center of the city. There he runs into Aeluin who seems non-plussed at his actions.

The pair settle into a comfortable caravanseri outside the east gate. Aeluin tells Ander he has a line on a craftsman whose work is so sublime that he can create flying carpets without magic! Ander and he head off to seek this craftsman out.

The pair locates the man, one Karaji Baba, but he is in the midst of preparing to flee the city. It would seem that his most recent work, a large flying carpet he was crafting for the Calipha, has been stolen! The craftsman fears that when the Calipha doesn't get the carpet as promised before the next full moon, on the 30th, for her daughter, Princess Hadra's birthday, it will mean his life.

Hearing the commotion from his stall a few doors away, Kamaal the Locksmith, heads over to investigate. Kamaal is actually Tymerian, an outcast drow, who has been living disguised as a locksmith for the last decade. Prior to this he was known far and wide as Kabuul the Butcher, an infamous pirate captain of Hawa, the City of Chaos.

Karaji tells the trio that yesterday a young man in desert robes entered his store and offered to buy the carpet for an outrageous price. Karaji had to turn him down. The man left muttering dark imprecations under his breath. Now the carpet is gone!

The party agrees to investigate. Aeluin for the chance to place an order for a magic carpet, Ander because he is along for the ride, and Kamaal because it was his locks on the store that was broken into. Kamaal (Tymerian) also desires part of the reward the old craftsman offers.

The shop is a mess. Puruseing the shop reveals three clues: a freshly minted coppper piece from Hiyal, City of Intrigue, a few traces of sulfur on the floor, and some fish scales. Asked to discribe the desert youth, Karaji gives them a good description of most of the men of the city, although he distinctly remembers the boy smelled of banapples and spoke with a slight southern accent.

Questioning the sevants and family of Karaji proves fruitless. The only odd piece of information is the singed dog Kamaal found this morning hiding behind his shop. The dog, whose name is Juju, belongs to another shopkeeper named Gashul, a local barber.

Tymerian realizes that banapples are the primary component in the creation of Liquid Star, a highly flammable oil he used to use alot of when he was a ruthless pirate. Checking the markets shows that banapples have become increasingly hard to get over the last few weeks as someone is mysteriously buying them all up. Questioning the fruit suppliers the party finds that large shipments have been delivered to a warehouse near the fishmarkets recently.

Ander and Aeluin case the joint. It stinks of ripe banapples. The pair retreat to their rooms to make plans. Tymerian waits till night and attempts to infiltrate the warehouse. He finds a large trapdoor has been installed on the roof of the building. He detects that it is trapped by magickal warding, and decides to attempt to sneak into the building tommorrow with a shipment of fruit.

April 24
Ander and Aeluin stake out the warehouse early the next day. Aeluin tells Ander to keep watch and heads off. Ander pulls out some wood and starts to carve. He sees a shipment arrive and gets called over by the driver who offers him a few copper to help unload. He slips inside after the unloading. Inside he finds Tymerian, still in disguise as Kamaal. The two spy on the mad alchemist who is busy brewing Liquid Star at a feverish pace. Already the warehouse is jammed with jugs and vases of the deadly oil. The pair retreat when another shipment arrives.

Meanwhile, Aeluin has gone to the authorities. The local Mamuluks, at first skeptical, become convinced that Ali al-Lazan, a crazy fire mage of the Brotherhood of True Flame, is in the city and plotting something dasterdly. A mere month ago Ali attempted to firebomb the Sultana of Hiyal's palace during her birthday celebration. A hefty reward has been offered for his capture. Aeluin fears that he plans to use the carpet to deliver a large dose of Liquid Star to the palace the night of the Princess's birthday.

The party insists on being a part of the capture, mostly for the reward. The Mamuluks reluctently agree. The plan is to assault him after dark, after the locals in a two-block radius are evacuated.

April 25
When all is ready, Ander uses his mimicry to sound like a small, helpless puppy in the hopes of luring Ali outside the warehouse where his capture won't set off the already created Liquid Star. Ali emerges from the warehouse muttering, "Come to Uncle Ali, little dog. Uncle Ali won't hurt you. No, he just wants to burn you."

The Mamuluk crossbow men on the roof across from the warehouse open fire. Tymerian and Ander let loose with their bows, and Aeluin looses his blast of water. Ali, a paranoid and suspicious fellow at the best of times, manages to get an Armor spell off before he is struck. The Mamuluk ground contingent rushes the mage. Ali Webs them and the party and retreats into the warehouse.

The doors and windows seem magickally sealed, so Ander works himself into a berserk rage and smashes the doors after freeing himself from the Web spell. He and a Mamuluk rush into the warehouse.

Inside, Ali awaits them, a twisted smile on his face. He holds a sputtering, sizzling ball of sparks in his hand. Ander is beyond reason in his berserk rage and tackles the mage to the ground. The mage drops the Delayed Blast Fireball he was holding. Ander begins to throttle him to death. The mamuluk seeing the fireball and the many ceremic jars of Liquid Star, leaps on the fireball before it explodes, absorbing the resulting explosion, and stopping the ignition of the stored oil. The mamuluk is killed, while Ander is left scorched and unconcious. Of Ali there is no sign. At his losing consciousness, his Contingency spell Teleported him away.

April 26-27
The party holes up and heals. Word reaches them that the Calipha wants them to attend the birthday party on the 30th. Tymerian reveals himself as Tymerian, the drow-elf. He concocts a wild story about hiding out from assassins which the rest of the party seems to accept at face-value.

Chapter Two: Flick of the Tail

April 28
Babazadeh has never been a lucky fisherman. Today, when he cast his net along the coastline west of Muluk, his efforts yielded nothing except some bloated coconut husks and a rusted anchor. Babazadeh threw his net in the sea one last time and called upon Fate for better luck. When the time came for him to draw in the net, he discovered he had caught a magnificent fish, covered in ruby scales that flashed like fire in the afternoon sun.

Babazadeh was disentangling the brillantly-colored fish from his nets whren it squirmed in his hands and begged him for its release. At first Babazadeh was astonished and apologized to the fish, but soon he regained his senses and explained that selling it in the bazaar would bring enough money to feed his family for a year. The fish promised great wealth in exchange for its freedom, but the fisherman ignored its desperate pleas. "A fish in the pot is worth two in the sea," he reminded the fish. Sealing it in a pot, the fisherman carried his valuable catch back to the city.

When he reached the grand bazaar, other stall keepers were amazed to see him carrying such a heavy pot and asked to see what it contained. Used to ridicule from these merchants, Babazadeh proudly opened the jar. Immediatly the ruby-scaled fish stuck out its head and regarded its audience with a calm stare. Amoung the audience was a young porter named Khalid. When the eyes of the fish and the kind-hearted porter met, Khalid knew that he must act at once to save the beautiful creature from the dinner plate. Without further thought he snatched the fish and ran.

Ander, Aeluin and Tymerian are wandering the bazaar today looking at buying finery for the upcoming party. Uzarad, a powerful Hiss-tathi warrior-mage and the embassy to Muluk from his tribe, and his friend Caius, an orc warrior, are also wandering the bazaar. Uzarad is looking for a suitable gift for the Princess on her upcoming birthday. Both parties see a young man running from an angry looking fisherman, followed by a laughing crowd. The young man holds in his hands a beautiful and brilliant ruby-colored fish. The fisherman is on him in an instant, raining blows and curses on him. The young man tosses the fish into the well in desperation, and with a flick of its tail, it is gone.

Babazadeh begins to kick and beat the young porter with renewed fervor. The fisherman calls on Fate to be delivered from this devastating ill-forune. He pleads with the crowd to help him retrieve his fish. The crowd begins to disperse now that the excitment is over, many with laughing and disparaging remarks directed at the fisherman.

Soon it is just Babazadeh, Khalid, and the two parties left standing around the well. Babazadeh promises the party half the worth of the fish if they can recover it. He just desires to feed his family and such a "sorcerous genie fish" Should certainly be able to do that. Ander attends to the boy. Tymerian intimidates the fisherman into letting him buy the fish, and all rights to the fish, for a few gold. The fisherman curses him and bemoans his fate, but has little choice but to accept.

Khalid awakens and insists that the fish must be saved and returned to the sea. Aeluin descends into the well to get the fish. He finds that the well is connected to a shallow and cramped tunnel. The rest of the party descend into the well.

The tunnel connects to a nearby bath house. It is abandoned for some reason. After a bit of exploration, the party discovers some odd writing, they realize it is backwards! They also find some large, wet foot-prints leading from one of the baths fed by the well.

Following the footprints leads them to a chamber where a withered old-woman sits rocking slightly from side-to-side, humming tunelessly. Tiers of benches rise up around her, covered with all manner of strange and eccelctic objects, one of which is the ruby-fish.

The old woman starts sprouting nonsense at them. She jabbers on incoherently pointing at various things and herself and the party members. Finally the party realizes that she is speaking backwards, and after doing a few menial chores for her she offers them the fish. She also explains that she is responsible for the haunting of this bath house. She warns the party of Yodfah, its owner. She tells them he is an evil man.

The party thanks the mysterious old woman and leaves via a boarded up window. Quickly, Ander releases the dying fish into the sea. It disappears with a flah of scarlet, then reappears as a beautiful young pahari! Her name is Salana she tells the dumbstruck Ander. She tells him that she is from a distant colony and was captured by the fisherman while exploring far from where she should have been. She seems taken with the handsome boy, and he with her. She swims off for a moment and when she returns she carries a handful of seaweed covered oysters. She gives these to Ander as a reward, and tells him that she often can be found nearby and how to contact her in the future, should he ever want to visit her underwater home.

Chapter Three: Nined Flawed Sapphires

April 29
The parties get to know one another a bit more. Uzarad is of high caste amoung his people, a rare civilized tribe of desert-dwelling lizardmen. Caius is already gone, returned to the desert, or lost as his intellegence is less then stellar.

April 30
The party shows up at the palace for the birthday party. Aeluin is a long-time friend, and ex-lover of the Calipha, though now he has eyes for the daughter. The Calipha senses this and attempts to keep the two apart. Other than this the celebration goes well. For their exemplery service, the Calipha bestows a few gifts. To Tymerian she gives money, to Aeluin she offers a more "private" reward, and to Ander she bestows a pair of Gauntlets of Ogre Strength which match his lion-motiff golden scalemail. She also offers the hospitality of her palace to them, a traditional Zakharan three days.

April 30-May 1
Ander, Aeluin, and Tymerian enjoy the hospitality of the palace. They learn a little of the history of Muluk, why it is called the City of Kings. The city can trace its ancestral linage back to the ancient days of the city of Anwhr, now a forgotten ruin in the Haunted Lands far to the east. Never once in over a thousand years has the line been broken, not even during the jihads of the Enlightenment.

May 2
A woman named Ayyam approaches Uzarad and tells him that the old woman from the bath house sent her. She needs able-bodied adventures that hold no love of the merchant Yodfah to wreak soem vengeance. She asks for a meeting with everyone.

Uzarad tells the party of this and they agree to the meeting. Ayyam asked to meet in a discreet private garden near the merchant district. She looks over the party with insightful eyes, resting a moment too long on Tymerian. She explains that she desires the party to retrieve a brass-bound ledger from a secret complex behind Sakina Falls which is located upriver a few days travel from the city. She explains that the ledger contains tax information she can use to bring down Yodfah and his illicit activities with. The party agrees to obtain the ledger.

The party equips themselves with some money gotten from Ayyam and heads upriver.

May 3
It is early on the 3rd when the party sights the 200-foot falls. Aeluin uses his magic to get the party safely across the river, as they are on the wrong side. Traveling up a narrow and torturous trail, the party arrives behind the falls. It is a sweeping torrent of water, but the trail continues beyond it. Once again Aeluin uses his powers and clears a channel for the party to continue. Behind the falls they find an open archway leading into the cliff.

Two guards are inside the first chamber, but neither is expecting trouble. The party makes short work of them before they can sound the alarm. The complex is beautifully done, with watery mosiacs and swirling patterns of color giving the illusion of being underwater.

Searching around a bit the party stumbles on a young boy, a foreigner, or ajami, from his looks, who is being tortured. This boy is Simon, a young rogue and gutter-snipe whose quick-fingers and curiousity have landed in deep trouble this time. He tells the party that his tormentor is a woman who just loves fire-magic. He also mentions that there are a few dozen men-at-arms guarding the complex.

The party botches their stealth attmepts and an all-out brawl erupts. Tymerian silences the mage, Hanzala, while Ander kills the purple fezzed dwarf, Mustanir. Uzarad's halberd deals death on the ill-prepared defenders. Simon and Aeluin both fight bravely also.

After the battle, the party spends a leisurely time picking over the complex. They find the ledger after a bit of trouble with some traps. They also find large stores of wine into which is being fermented a powdery sleeping drug called yimna. Tymerian knows the poison well, it is a common sporific. Its sickly sweet taste gives it away when placed in food, but when it is added to the wine whle it is fermenting, especially a sweet table wine, it becomes indistingishable.

Yodfah is making alot of this drugged wine. Tymerian finds and keeps several doses of the yinma powder.

The ledger details all the businesses Yodfah is involved in, including gems (his best known business), pack animals, cloth, eight bath houses, and three secret wineries like the Sakina Falls complex. The distribution of wine and alcoholic beverages within the city limits is illegal, not to mention the making of drugged-wine, but the hiding of the proceeds from the tax-collectors makes it a double crime. The party knows Yodfah is going down.

May 4-9
The party returns to Muluk. As agreed they meet Ayyam in the same garden seven days after they last saw her. They give her the ledger.

Tymerian finishes closing up shop here in Muluk, his ultimate plan to once again raid the seas as Kabuul.

Chapter Four: Invitation to a Funeral

May 10
The party hears wild rumours about Yodfah. The city is abuzz with gossip. The most persistant rumour is that he fled ahead of the mamuluks and escaped the city.

Late in the evening, Ayyam's body is found broken and tortured.

May 11
Muli, Ayyam's bother, approaches the party and asks them to assit in the funeral services, singing songs to help his sister's soul find her way to the afterlife. He has already hired some singers and he knows the party and she were friends becuase she mentioned them.

Hiring mourners is common practice, and the party readily agrees. Ander is unreasonablely suspicious of Muli and refuses to go without his sword, Darkslayer. Looking at him askance, the party, Muli, four litter bears with Ayyam's body, and four veiled female mourners head out to the Mount of Forgiveness where the crypts are. The procession winds its way through the streets, the women trilling their tongues in high-pitched keening. Muli weeps uncontrollably and curses Fate for taking his beloved sister from him.

Little does the party know that Muli is in fact not Ayyam's brother, but is in fact in the employ of Yodfah, who has decided to have his revenge on the party in a most satisfying manner. Mount Forgiveness is riddled with catacombs and tunnels filled with all manner of ghouls and undead. Yodfah has long used the Mount to rid himself of enemies and their corpses. Now he plans the same for the party.

At the top of the Mount is a large octagonal funeral hall. Entering through the heavy iron gates, the party sees five turbaned priests kneeling solemnly in prayer. The heavy smell of incense, myrrh, and smoke from a thousand candles hangs in the air. It is then that Muli slips out of the hall and closes the gate.

Taking this as their cue, the five priest turn laughing and shout, "Let the funeral begin!" They are really ghouls! A desperate combat begins, in which only Ander is armed. The litter bearers and veiled mourners quickly fall prey to the ravenous ghouls. Tymerian draws a concealed throwing knife and attempts to hit Muli through the bars of the gate. Muli laughs and dodges back. Tymerian draws his lockpicks and starts working on the lock. The leader of the ghouls, a particularly loathsome creature by the name of Fashid attempts to stop Tymerian.

Tymerian runs away from him and discovers that there is a secret passage behind the altar which leads down into the tunnels. Meanwhile, Ander and the others have been holding their own the best they can against the ghouls. Aeluin is sorely wounded, and Uzarad is unable to cast a spell for fear of roasting his compatriots. Tymerian re-emerges from the catacombs carrying a sword found in the lair of the ghouls. Very quickly the battle turns to a rout and the ghouls and their leader are killed or driven off.

Tymerian unlocks the gate and the party carries Aeluin back to town.

A healer is sent for to help clean the wounds inflicted by the filthy claws of the ghouls.

May 12
Tymerian begins trying to gather information on Muli, who thinks them dead. The rest of the party attempts to warn the authorities of the horrors crawling around in their cemetery, but they are not open to hearing about it and nothing is done. A sorely wounded Aeluin decides he must have a slave girl to tend him during his convalesence. He heads to the slave markets on a rented litter. Ander is a bit upset at the whole idea of buying another human being, though his clan in Ivania had used thralls.

Aeluin buys the feisty Zenobia, sold into slavery to pay her father's debts. She is very rude and insolent, but flashingly beautiful. Ander and Aeluin have their hands full with the woman. She is highly competent, but also bossy and manipulative.

Tymerian gets a lead on Muli, but discovers he has fled on learning that questions are being asked of his whereabouts.

The party heads into the wilds to track him.

May 13
The party is closing the gap with the fleeing Muli. While tracking him they stumble on the small camp of Sith, an elven warrior. Sith is livid about his horse being stolen just recently by Muli, who's dead mount the party has recently found. He joins their chase.

The party finds Sith's horse wandering lame. They stop to search for tracks. Muli springs out of hiding onto one of the party's mounts and rides off. Tymerian slowly strings and loads his bow, draws the arrow and takes a moment to aim at the rapidly retreating figure's back. He looses the arrow in a high arc. The party watches the arrow's slow progress to the earth with baited breath. The arrow connects! Muli flys from the saddle. The Tymerian, Sith, and Ander rush to him.

The rest of the party hangs back. As Ander and the two elves approach the wounded and crawling Muli, who is weeping and begging for mercy, figures burst from the sand! Hill tribesmen from the nearby Furrowed Mountains. Meanwhile, Aeluin, Zenobia, and Uzarad are also jumped by tribesmen. Leaving Muli to the tribesmen, the two parties fight a running battle to their horses and flee.

May 14
The party decides not to return to Muluk, but to continue southwards towards Quadra, where Aeluin plans on heading to the interior. They strike out along the caravan route hoping to catch a boat somewhere along the coast.

Chapter Five: The Vizier's Turban

May 15
The party arrives in Simbaya, a small independant city, which lies south of Muluk. As they are walking through the streets, a small door in a nearby wall bursts open and soldiers dressed in royal Simbayan livery pour out. A portly man in costly silks also on the street, points at the party saying, "Most noble soldiers, those are the ones you seek! I saw them emerge from the palace but moments ago!"

The party is arrested without a fight and brought before the sultana. She is a beautiful woman with long raven hair. She lolls on her throne and regards them haughtily. She demands the return of her "vizier's turban." The party is flumoxed, they have no idea what she is talking about. The party tells her they have no idea about her vizier's turban or its location, having just arrived in Simbaya. A thin man standing near her whispers in her ear and she frowns prettily. Taking this as his cue, the portly merchant suddenly speaks up and says he has made a dreadful mistake and that these worthies are innocent of the theft. Yet, he adds, would such adventerous-looking people not make fine detectives to locate the thief?

The sultana agrees and asks them to look into this matter for her. Surrounded by guards and a whimsical ruler, the party agrees.

Asked what this turban looked like, the sultana replies that she thinks it was gold the last time she saw it, and that the eye-jewels were green. She says it was on her bed, and that the thief or thieves must have come through her garden and entered by the door a servant left open to air out the room. She has the party escorted to the scene of the crime while she attends to business.

Once inside the opulent bedroom, the party sets about discovering clues. Aeluin has always fancied himself a sleuth and takes over the investigation. Outside the open door to the garden, sounds of pruning shears can be heard. Near the door to the garden a few drops of water and some scattered grass are found. In addition, the party sees tracks in and around the room: a small woman's, a larger human's, and a strange set of wavy, almost swept-out tracks. When questioned, the gardener seems suprised; he hadn't realized anything was amiss. He denies taking anything from the room, though he does recall seeing a tiny snake earlier, slithering towards the far wall. Perhaps it was a genie or a sorcerer in disguise!

Following the gardener's directions, the party approaches the far wall. A small boy hidden in the trees over-hanging the wall falls out in suprise as the party nears the wall. Catching the lad, the party questions him. While they do this more children appear over the wall and call for the release of their friend. They begin to throw some of the oranges they have been picking.

The party shows its peaceful intentions and ask if they have seen anything unusual. After a little bribery and flattery, the party learns that one of the children saw a greenish-gold snake slither over the wall and head towards the cloth market.

Heading towards the market, the party questions a few people about seeing the snake. One young man says that he has indeed seen it and will lead them to it for a fee. A few silver pieces later finds the party entering a dark alley. Thieves attack!

It is a brutal and one round combat as the party slays the nearest thieves and intimidate the rest into fleeing.

A sudden and high-pitched scream breaks the quiet peace of the late-afternoon market. Rushing to see the problem the party encounters a slighly hysterical young woman. She claims to have encountered a snake in a cloth merchant's rag bag. The party asks which merchant and after being told head there. Sulim the merchant seems nervous at their approach and is happy to let them search his wares for the snake. The party begins cautiously searching the shop. Tymerian stumbles on a bright purple snake, with amethyst-colored eyes in one of the bins. They lock eyes, and Tymerian feels the delicate mental probe from the Vizier's Turban, a small magical creature. It offers itself as a familiar if Tymerian agrees, telling him that the sultana had been ignoring it of late and that it was bored so it had left. Tymerian agrees to the tiny snake's demands.

The party deems it wise to return to the sultana and inform her of the day's events. She seems non-plussed at the loss of her Turban, and offers it in lieu of payment. She apologizes for the mistaken arrest and offers them her hospitality.

May 16-18
The party avails itself of the sultana's hospitality and makes plans to board a ship headed south. Aeluin and the sultana get to know each other better, and she offers him the use of one of her ships when it is time to leave. On the morning of the 18th, the party sets sail southwards.

On to Act II: Assassin Mountain

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